is back on the ice for the Chicago Blackhawks
and making up for lost time.
Toews scored a power-play goal during a three-goal third period and Cristobal Huet
turned aside 17 shots as the Blackhawks defeated the Los Angeles Kings
, 4-1, on Monday night at the United Center.
''His presence, the way he plays the game, the way he competes every shift, that's why he's the captain,'' veteran center John Madden said of Toews. ''He's not very vocal. He just leads by the way he plays, by example. It's contagious. If we just follow along and compete as hard as he does, everybody will be all right.''
Troy Brouwer had a goal and two assists while Madden and Andrew Ebbett also scored for Chicago (9-5-2), which moved into a tie with idle Columbus for first place in the Central Division.
scored for Los Angeles (10-6-2), tying him with Alex Ovechkin for the League's goal lead, but also took a hooking penalty that led to Toews' goal and a 3-1 lead for Chicago at 5:04 of the third period.
Toews, who missed the previous six games with concussion-like symptoms, needed just 17 seconds to take advantage on the power play, as the Blackhawks captain took a Brouwer feed in front, skated from left to right across the goalmouth and slipped the puck past Jonathan Quick
, who stopped 25 shots for the Kings.
''I felt great on the ice,'' said Toews, who had a team-high 34 goals last season only to have injuries limit him to two this campaign. ''If you look at a lot of our games in the past couple weeks, they were low-scoring. We struggled a bit on the power play. That was the difference tonight.''
Chicago converted on two of its three power-play opportunities in the game while killing off both man advantages for Los Angeles.
An interference penalty on Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi
with less than five seconds remaining in the middle period resulted in the first power play of the game. Cam Barker hit the left post early in the third before Brouwer redirected Patrick Sharp
's shot from the left boards at 1:33 for the go-ahead goal.
After Toews scored, Ebbett extended the lead to three goals at 9:20 when Brian Campbell's shot deflected off his upper body and into the net. Chicago held Los Angeles to just two shots in the third period and 18 overall.
''They're a top team in the conference and the league, and you can see why,'' Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ''We played a very good game across the board.''
"'His presence, the way he plays the game, the way he competes every shift, that's why he's the captain. He's not very vocal. He just leads by the way he plays, by example. It's contagious. If we just follow along and compete as hard as he does, everybody will be all right."
-- John Madden on Jonathan Toews
Following a scoreless first period, Madden got the Blackhawks on the scoreboard 1:04 into the second. Duncan Keith
's outlet pass started Brouwer up the center of the ice, and he hit Madden coming down the right wing. Madden unleashed a backhander from the top of the right circle that eluded Quick as Chicago took a 1-0 lead.
Kopitar tied the score when he cleaned up a rebound at the 9:10 mark. Huet stopped Drew Doughty
's shot from the blue line, but Kopitar had snuck in behind the Hawks defense and slid the loose puck into a wide-open cage for his 14th of the season. It was also his League-leading 28th point.
''I've always said the power play can win you a game and penalty killing can lose you a game. Tonight, it lost us a game,'' Kings coach Terry Murray said. ''(The Blackhawks) brought their work boots. They got a couple-goal lead and played prevent (defense).''
Material from wire services was used in this report.